Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ( not Willy Wonka )


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"The movie is considerably better than the trailers seem to suggest."










Charlie and the Choloate Factory
The Masked Reviewer

If you like Johnny Depp, then you're like everyone else, practically.  He's done great work over the years and has consistently managed to find himself interesting and quirky characters to portray. 

This time, Johnny Depp is playing the role of Willy Wonka, made famous on the big screen by Gene Wilder. 

Based on the book by Roald Dahl, this film tries to take a different view of the eccentric candy man than the 1971 movie (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) did. 

Except, it doesn't, really.

Tim Burton is the director of this film.  It definitely looks and feels like a Tim Burton movie -- that is to say, there are absolutely lush visuals and set designs.  Everything -- from Charlie Bucket's dilapidated home (amazing) to the spectacles to be seen inside the chocolate factory (fantabulous) -- has the Tim Burton touch.

Of course, you'd expect that it would have the Tim Burton darkness about it, too.  This is a bit of a shocker.  The Gene Wilder film had quite a bit of darkness to it...his Willy Wonka was charming yet...creepy.  The Masked Reviewer had expected the Johnny Depp/Tim Burton version to be downright evil. was in many ways sweeter.  The character of Willy Wonka was explored more, through amusing tidbits that were some of the highlights of the film. 

However, this version of the film is supposed to be more about Charlie, and we don't really learn an awful lot about Charlie, other than that he's poor and a good kid. 

Because both films are based on the same source material, there's a lot of overlap.  People familiar with the first film will see a lot of familiar scenes...the trouble is that it's an awful lot like it was the first time around.  The sets are more spectacular this time, but the events feel a bit too familiar. 

The music, provided by Danny Elfman, is distinctively Danny Elfman.  Since this is a musical (sort of), the music gets a lot of attention.  The theme is fine, but the songs in the movie seem to deteriorate into a Danny Elfman Rock's not's just sort of out of place.  They try to use the music for laughs in some places, and it doesn't always work.  Nothing is as catchy or memorable as in the original movie (like the Oompa-Loompa song).  Worse still, all of the songs that have vocals (done by Danny Elfman himself) are almost entirely incomprehensible.  Why have lyrics if you can't understand them?

Johnny Depp, as expected, steals the show.  His Willy Wonka is...creepy.  It's kind of like a bit of the Church Lady on "Saturday Night Live", mixed with Carol Channing.  Mixed with Michael Jackson.  He's in many ways a more simple creation than Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka...Johnny Depp is more innocent and a victim of his upbringing.  But, he's still weird.

A lot of people (including the Masked Reviewer) were very excited at the prospect of Johnny Depp playing Willy Wonka in this Tim Burton remake.  However, the trailers that came out seemed to sap a lot of that enthusiasm.  The movie is considerably better than the trailers seem to suggest. 

The other performances are solid across the board.  Christopher Lee and David Kelly are two standouts, but all of the children and parents do a great job. 

It's perhaps a bit long, but the visuals and comedic moments make it worth a look.  Probably not as good as Gene Wilder's verison, but Tim Burton and/or Johnny Depp fans will find plenty to enjoy -- at the very least, you can play "identify all the people in the movie who worked with Tim Burton before."


Expectation from the Title: When a viet-cong guerilla happens to find a large munitions plant in the middle of the jungle, he's shocked to discover that it's made entirely of chocolate.

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  Poor Johnny Depp seems so troubled in this movie.  He should have some of his own candy.  But not too much.

The Pros: Great acting, amazing sets, some nice visuals.  A few good laughs. 

The Cons: Music is a let down.  Johnny Depp has a tough time avoiding comparisons to Gene Wilder, and that's a tough match-up for anyone to win.  A bit long. 

Jonny Depp, Johnny Dep, Willy Wonka and the Chcolate Factory, Lee Evans all here.



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